Mississippi Organics

Statistics and State Resources

Mississippi Organic Statistics

According to USDA/ERS statistics for 2001, Mississippi was one of two states in the U.S. with no acreage in certified organic production.(USDA/ ERS, 2002. Organic production. www.ers.usda.gov/Data/organic/) In May 2005, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture Organic Program certified the first five organic producers in Mississippi. Private certifying agents report two certified organic handlers in the state.


State Resources

  1. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) is involved in several activities of importance to organic producers. Accredited certifying agent. MDAC received accreditation by the USDA-National Organic Program (USDA-NOP) in crops, wild crops, and handling on June 1, 2004. The Organic Certification Review Board meets quarterly to review and approve certification applications. USDA-NOP Certification Cost Share Program. Up to 75% of the certification costs can be covered by this program, up to a maximum of $500 per farm per year.
    Kevin Riggin
    MDAC Program Coordinator for the Certification
    Cost Share Program
    601-693-3382 or 601-354-6818

    Guy Feltenstein
    Director, Regulatory Services for Fruits and Vegetables
    Organic System Plan forms:

    Farmers’ Market Program. Farmers’ markets are located throughout the state, serving as a marketplace for locally grown organic and non-organic vegetables and fruits, as well as meats, eggs, bee products, and processed farm products.
    Jake Hutchins, Director
    P.O. Box 1609
    Jackson, MS 39215
    601-953-2445 601-354-7330 FAX
    www.mdac.state.ms.us/n_library/departments/farm_mkt/ index_ farmmkt.html

    Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Plant Pathology Laboratory. Identification of fruit (strawberry, cherry, and blackberry) fungal diseases, as well as other plant diseases.
    Dr. David Ingram

  2. The Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Extension Station (MSU-MAFES) provides expertise in all aspects of commercial fruit (specializing in blueberries and grapes) and vegetable production.
    MSU Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station
    P.O. Box 231
    2024 Experiment Station Road
    Crystal Springs, MS 39059

    Dr. Bill Evans, Research Coordinator—Mississippi Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station, is conducting a USDA Specialty Grants organic and integrated pest management research project. The research is using a six-point rotation system of vegetables to evaluate crop yields and economic returns of organically and conventionally produced vegetables. The research is in its second year, with one year remaining on the grant. Preliminary results show that it is economically feasible to grow some varieties of vegetables organically in Mississippi.
    Dr. Bill Evans
    601-892-2056 FAX
    www.msstate.edu/dept/cmrec/truckcrops.htm (Truck Crops Branch)

    Dr. Richard G. Snyder, Professor and Vegetable Specialist, answers questions on commercial vegetable production, including organic production, and aintains an excellent Web site with information on local organic production of vegetables and fruits as well as links to organic agricultural information.
    Dr. Richard Snyder
    601-892-2056 FAX
    www.msstate.edu/dept/cmrec/organic (Organic fruit and vegetables)
    www.greenhousetomatosc.com (Greenhouse Tomato Short Course)
    www.msstate.edu/dept/cmrec (Central Research and Extension Center)
    www2.msstate.edu/~ricks/ (Vegetable Resource Page)

  3. Mississippi State University (MSU) Coastal Research and Extension Center. This center focuses on horticultural and field crop production.
    1815 Popps Ferry Rd.
    Biloxi, MS 39532
    228-388-1375 FAX

    Dr. David Veal, Head, Coastal Research and Extension Center. Focus on ornamental horticulture and environmental protection.
    228-388-1375 FAX

    Dr. John Braswell, Associate Horticulture Specialist. Specializing in blueberry and muscadine production, as well as general horticultural practices.
    601-795-0653 FAX

  4. The Deep South Fruit and Vegetable Conference and Trade Show is a cooperative event held annually in one of the four participating southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi). The conference features workshops on fruit and vegetable production, including organic production, presented by academic personnel from the four states, and programs from the Farm Service Agency and other state and federal agencies. Typical attendance at the conference is more than 500 people.
    Guy Feltenstein
    MDAC Director, Regulatory Services for Fruits and Vegetables

  5. Small-Scale/Limited Resource Farmers Initiative. Mississippi was one of 11 states that received funding of up to $6 million for a Small-Scale/Limited Resource Farmers Initiative. The USDA-NRCS offices in Mississippi will dedicate up to $500,000 for this program to help farmers with 100 acres or less of cropland to implement conservation practices.

    To be eligible, at least 10% of the cropland acres must be planted to alternative crops. Cost-share rates will be up to 90% for all practices, and contracts will be limited to $10,000. Farmers interested in the Small-Scale/Limited Resource Farmers Initiative should contact their local USDA Service Center or NRCS office. Information is also available at http://offices.usda.gov/ or in the telephone book under “Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture.” Additional information for small farmers and ranchers is on the Web at www.usda.gov/oce/smallfarm and www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/AFSIC_pubs/altlist.htm.

  6. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is a state agency that publishes an occasional newsletter, Watershed Harmony, on non-point source pollution in Mississippi.
    P. O. Box 20305
    Jackson, MS 39289-1305

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